Over the course of this summer the headlines and stories that deliver our news have been somber, to say the least. You would literally have to close your eyes or maybe plug your ears to avoid the onslaught of tragic news.
For a second we’ll put aside topics like bombings in Brussels, continued bloodshed in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, not to mention a failed coup in Turkey that has led to the subsequent closure of 130 media outlets that oppose the current regime, according to a BBC News report. Not to say this news isn’t important, we just don’t have enough pages in a weekly paper.
Here on American soil, the summer has been plagued by gun violence. If you think the U.S. can’t go a week without a mass shooting, you’d be partially correct; we average more than one a day, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd-sourced project created to monitor and track mass shootings as well as how many were injured or killed.
The numbers are staggering. Last year, as a nation we averaged just over one mass shooting per day. In 2016, we’ve eclipsed 300 and it is only August. Mass Shooting Tracker defines a mass shooting as an incident when four or more people are shot.
Many gun owners and gun enthusiasts will stand by rhetoric like defense of home or my favorite, defense against the government. Staying armed against the government was an important value as the nation was being erected, and it made sense with our country being founded by rebels. It seemed a lot more practical when resistance against government was using a musket, in the 1800s.
In current times it’s the AR-15 that takes center stage as it was the weapon of choice for the gunmen that rock our country the hardest. These weapons are powerful, strong enough to kill a bunch of people. It’s asinine to think that these AR-15s would stand much of a chance against our military though, a military armed with automatic weapons, drones and unparalleled surveillance. It doesn’t really make sense to take a gun to a drone fight.
The two deadliest shootings took place weeks apart in June and July. The first was in Orlando at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub. That night 49 lives were lost, many of Hispanic heritage. In early July it was a disgruntled Army veteran who targeted the lives of Dallas Police officers. These are stories that you are probably familiar with by now.
I’m just trying to figure out what place these types of rifles have in our community, besides ripping families apart, of course. Assault rifles have no place in the hands of civilians. They are efficient killing machines and we’re seeing that firsthand far too many times.
Since we’ve seen this story time and time again, it’s easy to predict the public backlash against guns, the cries for stricter gun control and most likely the lack of change. Long, semiautomatic rifles, designed for civilian use, will continue to be commonplace and when the smoke clears will be at the center of shootings for the foreseeable future.
Maybe it’s harsh to say but when blood continues to be spilled via gun violence it’s also on the hands of lawmakers who are refusing to step in and make this less common.
Until any substantial legislation is made to curb these shootings, expect your children to grow up not only accustomed but also desensitized to mass shootings. It really is out of control when young people don’t even blink an eye hearing stories of people getting killed. But when it’s the world we create and allow, we start to reap what we sow.